Baltimore County Board of Education approves redistricting plan for Johnnycake Elementary School

The Baltimore County school board on Tuesday easily approved a redistricting plan between Johnnycake and Edmondson Heights elementary schools that officials say will reduce crowding conditions at Johnnycake.

In a unanimous vote, the Board of Education of Baltimore County voted to move forward with a previously presented option that will move about 75 students from Johnnycake to Edmondson Heights for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Under the proposal, Johnnycake will have a capacity of 588 students with approximately 576 enrolled; Edmondson Heights will have a capacity of 589 students with a projected enrollment of 583.

If the boundaries between the schools were not shifted, Edmondson Heights would have a projected enrollment of about 508 students while Johnnycake would have over 650 students, putting it well above 100% of its capacity.

The boundary vote was the result of a monthslong process involving parents, teachers and school principals from both communities who met several times to compare options presented to them by Cropper GIS, an outside firm. During that process, the group made adaptations to the pre-made options and crafted the redistricting plan that the board ultimately adopted.

The school board held a public hearing on the proposals in May, but Baltimore County Public Schools chief accountability officer Russell Brown said nobody attended the hearing.

The redistricting process was initiated because crowding at Johnnycake has long been a concern for parents, teachers and other stakeholders, and because a plan presented in late April 2018, that would shift some Johnnycake students to a new Chadwick Elementary School in 2020, fell through.

In November, when the Johnnycake boundary process began, school officials said the new Chadwick building is expected to hit capacity sooner than initially projected, so using it as a relief valve for crowded schools like Johnnycake “did not make sense.”

cboteler@baltsun.com

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